"It is not enough to look backwards with pride, justified as that pride may be. We must look forward with hope and confidence, too. The real lesson of the past is that it shows us what can be done in the future."
- Margaret Sanger
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky’s roots go back to the early 1930s, when Birth Control Leagues were opening in communities around the country. At the time, publication and distribution of information about sex, sexuality, contraception, and human reproduction was prohibited by federal Comstock Laws.
Margaret Sanger, the founder of the American Birth Control League and a public-health nurse, saw that although contraceptives were available to wealthy women who had access to private physicians, the legal prohibitions restricted access to contraceptives for poor people. Upon opening her first clinic in 1916, Sanger was arrested and served a jail term rather than discontinue her activities.
In 1932, the Indiana Birth Control League was established, and in 1933, the Maternal Health Clinic opened in Indianapolis. That same year, the Kentucky Birth Control League was founded, opening its first clinic at the Norton Infirmary in Louisville.
While reproductive rights inched forward, the American Birth Control League became Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942 and birth control leagues in Indiana and Kentucky became Planned Parenthood affiliates. In the 1950s and 1960s, many new Planned Parenthood offices opened, retaining their commitment to offer women and men information and services to help them plan their families and maintain control over their reproductive health.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide began merging as the health care landscape became increasingly technology-driven. In 2004, a merger created one statewide Planned Parenthood affiliate for Indiana, and in 2008, Kentucky’s two affiliates merged to become one. Those two statewide affiliates merged in 2013 to become Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.
As we look forward, we will continue to advocate for our patients and provide high-quality health care. Please consider joining us in support of our mission to continue for another 85-plus years and beyond. Visit our Ways to Care page or our Advocates site to learn more.